Baltimore Ravens 38-35 Denver Broncos

Updated: January 13, 2013

Ray Lewis and the Baltimore Ravens advance to the AFC Championship game and take another step on the road to the Superbowl with an overtime win of 38-35 against the Denver Broncos at the Sports Authority Field at Mile High.

The game got off to one of the liveliest starts you’ll ever see in a playoff game.

It started off with the Ravens going three and out, forcing them to punt the ball. Broncos WR and Return Specialist, Trindon Holliday produced the first playoff magic of the day by returning the punt for a 90 yard touchdown.

Four plays later, Ravens QB Joe Flacco showed his critics why he should be considered ‘elite’ by completing a 94 yard drive with a 59 yard touchdown pass to WR Torrey Smith, evening up the score.

When Broncos QB Peyton Manning was finally on the field, he didn’t get off to a good start as his pass intended for WR Eric Decker, was picked off by Ravens CB Corey Graham and it was returned for a 39 yard touchdown.

Broncos got the ball back and they scored their first offense touchdown with a 15 yard pass by Manning to WR Brandon Stokley, completing a 74 yard drive in 11 plays. This was Manning’s 30th post season touchdown in his career.

In the second quarter, both teams went three and out before the Broncos offense continued the scoring with an eight play drive for 86 yards. They finished it off with a 14 yard touchdown pass from Manning to Broncos RB Knowshon Moreno.

Ravens went three and out again, giving the Broncos another opportunity to add points to the board. However, this opportunity wasn’t taken as Broncos kicker Matt Prater missed a 52 yard field goal, giving the Ravens the ball on their own 42 yard line.

The Ravens took advantage of

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this missed field goal and added another seven points to the board through another Smith touchdown. This time out, the touchdown was a 32 yard pass from Flacco to Smith, capping off a three play drive of 58 yards.

This touchdown made the half time score, 21-21.

The Broncos started the second half with another piece of magic as Holliday was able to return a 104 yard kick-off return for a touchdown, his second special teams’ touchdown of the day.

This was also the first time any player had returned a punt return and a kick-off return for touchdowns in a post season game

On the seventh play of the Ravens next drive, Flacco fumbled the ball on their own 43 yard line and it was recovered by Broncos MLB Keith Brooking, the second turnover of the game.

Two drives later, it was Manning’s turn to make a mistake as he fumbled the ball on his own 43 yard line and it was recovered by Ravens OLB Paul Kruger.

On the second play of the Ravens resulting drive, RB Ray Rice completed a 32 yard run to put the Ravens in the ‘RedZone’ for the first time in the game. He then finished off the drive three plays later with a one yard touchdown run, tying up the game for the fourth time.

Broncos started off with the ball in the fourth quarter and on the third play, the first sack of the game occurred as Manning was sacked by Ravens OLB Terrell Suggs, forcing the Broncos to punt.

The Ravens were forced three and out, giving the ball back to the Broncos who took full advantage of possession.

They added another touchdown to their score through a 17 yard pass from Manning to WR Demaryius Thomas. This gave the Broncos a 28-35 lead with just over seven minutes remaining in the game.

Ravens were unable to score on their drive as they tried to convert a 4th and 5 but Flacco was unable to connect with TE Dennis Pitta, causing the fourth turnover of the game.

The Ravens defense forced the Broncos to punt, giving the Ravens offense a chance to level the game again, which they did.

Flacco connected to WR Jacoby Jones for a 70 yard touchdown pass, tying up the game for the fifth time and giving the Broncos 31 seconds to possibly win the game.

However, Manning and the Broncos offense decided to take a knee to take the game to overtime. The Broncos fans booed immediately as they were surprised their team didn’t try to win the game in the remaining seconds of regulation time.

Ravens won the overtime coin toss and decided to receive the ball.

If the Ravens scored a touchdown, they would win the game. If they could only manage a field goal or not score at all, the game would enter sudden death, meaning any score by any team would result in a win for that team.

The Ravens were unable to score as during their first drive of overtime, Flacco was sacked for the first time in the game by Broncos OLB Von Miller, causing the Ravens to punt the ball.

With Broncos now with possession, the game entered sudden death, meaning the next team to score would win the game.

However, they were unable to score as well, causing them to punt back to the Ravens who were forced to start on their own six yard line thanks to a good punt by Broncos punter Britton Colquitt.

The Ravens were given a second chance to win the game but they were forced to punt the ball again. This time though, they managed to stop Holliday from returning the ball as he was stopped on the Broncos seven yard line.

On the seventh play of the Broncos second overtime drive though, Manning was picked off for the second time in the game by Graham. He intercepted the ball on the Broncos 45 yard line, giving possession back to the Ravens.

This gave the Ravens a third opportunity to win the game, which they took to full advantage as they set up their kicker, Justin Tucker, for a 47 yard field goal which he converted to make the final score 38-35 to the Ravens.

With this win, the Ravens advance to the AFC Championship game on 20th January.

They will find out who their opponents will be this Sunday as the New England Patriots host the Houston Texans at Gillette Stadium in the other AFC Divisional game. The winner of this game will host the Ravens in the AFC Championship game.

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Match report by Conor Porter

twitter – @ConorJPorter

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